You'll have a really hard time buying a policy for a car you don't own. It's usually easier to buy a policy that lists the owner, even if they are excluded from coverage.
This is one of those funny situations. There's usually no legal reason you couldn't insure a car you don't own, but insurance companies probably won't want to sell you a policy in this situation.
Why? Insurance companies want to align incentives when they sell policies. That helps prevent insurance fraud. Some estimates suggest that 30% of auto insurance payouts are fraudulent. Those claims are paid by the insurance company in the short run, but end up in insurance prices in the long run. That means everyone with car insurance pays the cost of fraud.
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So, imagine if you could buy insurance on any car on the road, not just yours. With the right coverage, if that car "disappeared", you'd get the value of the vehicle. Car owners would usually be seriously inconvenienced by this - their commute is interrupted, they need to find a new car, etc. But non car owners, well... See?
Here are the most common situations we see when a customer wants to insure a car they don't own, and the solutions:
- You drive a car to help the owner, who can't drive, perhaps because they are elderly or disabled.
Solution: The policy should be in their name. If they are not licensed, they can be excluded from coverage, so there is no premium charged for them (and also no coverage if they do drive). You should be listed as a driver on the policy.
- You are borrowing a car from a friend or family member for a few weeks or months, and they tell you to get your own insurance.
Solution: Unfortunately, the policy still needs to be in their name. You need to be a driver on the policy. If they will never drive the car while you have it, they can be excluded. And nothing prevents you from paying the bill.
- You are renting or leasing a car to drive for Uber or another car service, and the owner tells you to get your own insurance.
Solution: This is a complex situation, and whether you need personal or commercial auto insurance depends on the specific details. Definitely call an insurance agent for some help figuring this out.
If you're trying to insure a car you don't own, you usually have a pretty complex situation going on, and you should seek the advice of an insurance agent.